Teen births fall to 70-year low

LOS ANGELES — Teenagers are giving birth at the lowest rates noted in seven decades of record-keeping, according to statistics from the federal government released Tuesday.

The report doesn't speculate on why the birthrate has fallen, but two decades of public-health initiatives to curb teenage pregnancy may be paying dividends. The National Center for Health Statistics report shows that the teen birthrate fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teenagers ages 15 to 19 in 2009. That's a 6 percent drop from 2008 and the lowest rate since 1940. In 1991, in contrast, the rate was 61.8 per 1,000.

Lawsuit is planned to restore gray wolves

BILLINGS, Mont. —Environmentalists said Tuesday they intend to sue the Obama administration to force it to restore gray wolves across the lower 48 states — even as Republicans in Congress sought unsuccessfully to strip the animals of protection.

The Center for Biological Diversity said in a formal notice to the Interior Department that it will sue the agency in 60 days unless the government crafts a plan to bring back wolves throughout their historical range.

Judge denies former Ill. governor's release

KANKAKEE, Ill. —Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's family, gathered around his cancer-stricken wife Lura Lynn, had high hopes early Tuesday when a federal judge said she would rule on his bid to be released from prison just four days before Christmas.

But U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer didn't deliver the gift the Ryans sought, instead upholding the former governor's corruption conviction and ruling against him on all counts. She denied his request for bond, leaving it likely Ryan will remain in prison until his official release date in 2013.

While acknowledging the plight of Ryan's wife, whom doctors have given less than six months to live, the judge placed the blame for the family's predicament firmly on the former governor's shoulders.